Chart: American Twitch Viewers, 2019-2023

eMarketer forecasts that 37.5 million people in the US will watch streaming video on Twitch at least monthly in 2020, meaning the video streaming platform will reach 15.5% of US digital video viewers this year.

At its current pace, Twitch will surpass 40 million US users by the end of 2021, according to their first ever forecast for the platform.

Twitch will grow by 14.3% this year. But as Twitch loses share to competitors like YouTube, Mixer and Facebook Gaming, that growth will slow. Read the rest at eMarketer.

The rise of Twitch validates my observation that video games would become a popular spectator sport. Back in 2005 I wrote about video game tournaments:

Given the popularity of the National Football League, it takes little imagination that it’s virtual equivalent could garner mass spectator appeal. Games such as Halo and Halo 2 are built specifically to take advantage of online competition. It’s not a stretch to imagine Halo enthusiasts paying for a pay-per-view event of competition among the top 10 Halo gamers.

I think it’s only a matter of time before the video game industry figures out that they can cash in on not just gamers, but the audience their competition can create.

Beyond Social Media Segment Transcript

David Erickson: Some numbers about Twitch; the gaming, the streaming video gaming service. If you are not a gamer, you’ve probably heard of Twitch but maybe don’t know what it is but it is basically a Netflix for live video games. So you can watch people play video games

BL Ochman: Something I will never understand.

David Erickson: Yeah, well we talked about this in Episode 297; we talked about video game tournaments and how they are big business and they are, so I’m following this up with Twitch numbers.

This is from eMarketer’s projections. US American Twitch viewers in 2019; there were 32.9 million of them. This year: 37.5 million. By 2023, eMarketer’s projecting there will be 47 million. It is, I mean, it is huge and it’s growing and as a spectator sport it is growing.

And I can see the appeal. I watch video games and it’s entertaining to watch them, if they’re good. So, we’ll see.

BL Ochman: This is right up there to me with the unboxing videos where there’s the little kid who plays with toys. I forget his name.

David Erickson: Oh, there’s not just one of them.

BL Ochman: Yeah, well, he was the first. You know, but unboxing and watching video games are in the same class to me.

David Erickson: There’s a little bit more adrenaline in video games than there is in unboxing.

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